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AmericanCourage #220     18 FEB 2010

SSgt Bernard J. Coyne and his wife Kathryn Coyne. This picture shows all the Sacrifices made by our Marine Families! SSGT. Bernard J. Coyne and his wife Kathryn Coyne SSGT Coyne's MOS is EOD, and he is stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.
Kathryn lives in Jacksonville, NC with their three children, Julianna, 9, Cadence,3, Bernard III, one year old.
SSGT. Coyne left Jan 19th aboard the Mesa-Verde. diverted to Haiti, on its way to the Middle East.
Mother of a Marine, Christine Coyne

In this Edition

This newsletter includes a Marine's wedding pics, and an emotional description of a young Marine's funeral. An outstanding illustration of improvising with a picture of the completed project. Of course the inspiring quotes of our founding fathers and others.

I have been posting daily to the Sgt Grit Blog. Some things that do not fit the newsletter format along with more of the popular quotes from founding fathers, famous Marines and others. And be sure to catch up with us on our Facebook page where you can keep me up to date!

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Family Member Shirts


Top's Snow Removal Device, USMC Model #1 I had to purchase a new snow shovel the other day, since, my old one came up missing.
I went to my local hardware to find just what I was looking for. The beginning of a new creation.
There stood before my Marine Corps eyes, a dress blue shovel, waiting to be further created.
All I had to do was add an NCO stripe and two gold Marine Corps emblems facing inboard, of course.

My wife and neighbors think I am over the edge, but how can you have too many Marine Corps possessions??? So if you are in need of a Marine Corps shovel, go get the blue one and get to work. It looks almost too good to use. I have it sitting in my living room.


MSGT. Dick Bowers, USMC (RET'D.)

Note: Over the edge, my azs, that's one of the best examples of "IMPROVISE", adapt, overcome I have seen.
Sgt Grit

i read the story of MSgt. Mitchell in your newsletter and my heart is broken for that family. next Tuesday it will be a year since my Marine died so i know what his sons and wife are facing.
i wanted to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and say that, yes, he IS and always will be a "true Marine hero" just as my own husband is.

i pray for peace for them as they endure such a tragic loss.

~ womanNshadows

And I Quote...

"Your love of liberty -- your respect for the laws -- your habits of industry -- and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness."
--George Washington

On Jan/28 newsletter John or was it James V. Merl stated he thought the dress blue uniform is "Gaudy". I disagree. I did think that white belt was a bit much until I saw a Marine standing at attention and saw how nice that uniform looked white belt, cover and white gloves. I once read that someone said they looked like toy soldiers. There is one thing, you see a guy in that uniform there is no mistaking "He's a Marine." My husband John Hutchinson who passed away in 88 looked great in it. A Marine wife.


USMC University Shirts

Sgt. Grit,

I was sitting at home after working an 11 hour shift at Lowes where earlier that morning we had received a Certificate of Appreciation from a rep. fr/the Pentagon for our service to military family members in the Pittsburgh area. I answered a knock at the door. A Vietnamese woman handed me a can of homemade cookies. She said that the Vietnamese women in the area made "thank you cookies" for Vietnam Veterans they could identify in the area. She thanked me for fighting to try to free her country.

That, in itself, made the time I spent in Nam worthwhile.
S/Sgt. David Luikart
USMC Retired

Note: What an outstanding story. And not one red cent of government money was needed for this heartfelt act of thanks.
God Bless America!
Sgt Grit

Dear Sgt Grit,

I was recently asked to make a Marine Box (Hobby) for my Boss's Father's B-Day. He will be turning 97 and he is also a WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veteran. I purchased all but one thing from you, thought you might like to see how it turned out.

Semper Fi
SSGT Harris

Marine box for SSGT Harris's boss Marine box for SSGT Harris's boss Marine box for SSGT Harris's boss

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And I Quote...

"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
--Thomas Jefferson

Staff Sgt. Matt Ingham was a true American / Marine hero. After his squad was ambushed in Afghanistan and two fellow Marines were killed, the Staff Sgt., although wounded, crawled in open space to gain access to a radio and gave coordinates for an air strike while taking fire. That was the last act of his life but there are now nine other Marines alive and well because of his actions. In addition to letting everyone know about Matt's heroism, the purpose of this letter is also to let everyone know what being a Marine means to others, especially fellow Marines.

Staff Sgt.Ingham married the sister of my daughter-in-law. When I heard that his widow had expressed a desire to have a flyover of Marine aircraft at his funeral but was turned down, I didn't think there was much I could do about it but I thought I would give it a shot. I emailed a cousin of a friend of mine, a former Marine that works for the Corps at the Pentagon. When I told him what I wanted, in true Marine fashion he charged headlong into the bureaucracy and before I knew it, I was receiving advice from about half the staff at HQMC.

Because of what I was told, within two days, two Congressmen from Pennsylvania along with the Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania were soliciting the Pentagon on behalf of the Staff Sgt. Within three days, the request was sitting on the desk of Assistant CMC, General Amos In the end, the General turned down the request which saddened all involved. However, as I mentioned to my original contact at the Pentagon, I was never more proud to call myself a Marine. The speed and tenacity shown by everyone to try and honor the Staff Sgt truly amazed me. I am very grateful to each and every person involved.

C. F. Larkin

Sgt. Grit,

After 40 years I finally got the opportunity to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall along with other Memorials. I along with members and their families of Marine Corps League, Table Rock Detachment #1197 from Morganton, NC went on a trip to Quantico, VA and to Washington, DC in the summer of 2007. It was quite an experience.

Me in the Wall Operation Chinook Washington 2007

Initially I had some emotional moments but then I felt a calming peace come over me. It is hard for me to put the feeling into words. One of my pictures that I took of the wall came out, as I'm sure many others have experienced, with a reflection of me as if I were in the wall with my fellow "Band of Brothers". I felt as if I were among fellow warriors at a place somewhere in history.

So many years have passed yet every moment of those years are captured forever in my mind. Every Vietnam Veteran should try at least once to visit the Vietnam Memorials. I am sorry that I waited so long. I have attached a few "then and now" photographs.

Semper Fi,
Bob Mauney

Vietnam 1966/1967
3rd Shore Party Bn
3rd Marine Division

And I Quote...

"[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
--Thomas Jefferson

Semper Fi, Sgt

Just thought I'd send you a couple photos you could put in the newsletter.

Marine License Plates Marine Yard Guards Marine Blanket

They are the special Marine Illinois auto plates on my cars, my security guards at my home and a beautiful blanket that my wife made for me.

Semper Fi,
Wally Pfeifer
USMC '48-'50

For a daily dose of Corps, quotes and patriotism follow my blog.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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And I Quote...

"When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
--Thomas Jefferson

Just like to give a big OOH~RAH to my nephew PFC CARR who went to Haiti on the Gunstun Hall to help. He is my hero I love you Corey!


First, let me say I am deeply sorry for your family's loss. Your letter inspired me to do more research into this tragedy and the details about the killing appalls me. May young Mr. Gray and his gun providing buddy rot in h&ll after the State of Tennessee has its way. I was not able to find out if they had been tried and convicted but here's to hoping the justice system seeks and wins the death penalty if convicted.

A lot of fine, brave young men who serve their country move on to become an integral part of society and as the type of friend, neighbor, father or acquaintance people enjoy having in their lives. Troy sounds like one of those men. It kills me to see kids 14- 24 years old, walking around our streets acting like thugs and punks when Americas best continue to uphold their commitment to this Great Nation and some; never return. When men like Troy serve their country for many years, see combat or just live dangerously doing the things we do; we do not expect our lives to be cut short in our hometown by those who have none of the values we hold sacred.

I look at the pictures of Troy and see the best friends I've ever had, both from in the Corps and after (which happen to be mostly Marines as well. Go figure). I see the neighbor down the street everyone knows they can count on, the Dad that never backs down from coaching a little league team or just helping one or two less fortunate kids catch a few more breaks. I see the kinda guy that makes people smile and say hi when they bump into him going about the town. The kinda guy that took the principles and leadership traits he learned in the Corps and use them to become a successful independent business owner. I just hope the jurors see the same before imposing a sentence on these human refuge.

May God bless you and your family. Go to bed tonight and find comfort in knowing that one more person in this world holds your husband and your family in his thoughts and prayers as well.

Semper Fi,
Cpl Gary Pridemore
2nd Recon Bn 86-90

Marine Brown Thorlo Socks Sgt Grit,

As you know, the big offensive in Afghanistan is going on. My son is with the 2/2/ Warlords in the thick of it. Please keep him and all of his Warlord buddies in your prayers. They are doing well in spite of the circumstances.

Love your website, always happy to read it. Hey, by the way I ordered a bunch of Marine Corp socks from you, the brown boot type ones, and after a major firefight and standing in waist deep water for 8 hours, my son said it was a welcome surprise when he came back in and got his socks. His said it saved the day!

Thank you for all you do,
A very proud Marine Mom,
Lauren yeager

Sgt Grit:

I quit high school at the age of 16 and joined the Marines for 4- years in 1954. The Marines made certain that I finish my high school education.

I attended college (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) on the Korean G.I. Bill and received a degree in Civil Engineering. I did graduate work (9-Credit Hours) at the Univ of Cal at Berkeley. I am a Registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. I am a member of the American Arbitration Association's Panel of Arbitrators; wherein, I arbitrate construction disputes in the private sector.

I retired from the U. S. Corps of Engineers in 1996. I have deployed, as a Federal Employee working for the Departments of Defense and State, intermittently to the war zones of Iraq (2004 and 2005) and to Afghanistan (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010) as an engineer managing the construction of roads in both countries. In Iraq and Afghanistan, even the civilians are located in the war zones; there is no front line similar to other wars participated in by American Civilians. I have just returned from Afghanistan at the age of 72. I am certain that my life has been more meaningful because of my early training in the Marines.

I had the opportunity to serve my country as a teenager and again in the penultimate years of my life. I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve my country.

Semper Fi,

Rixby J. Hardy, P.E.

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And I Quote...

"That's what we do, we're Americans!"

Grace and her English Bulldog Now here's a proud Gunny Sgt for you he's only 16 months and he's 65 pounds of raw pride.

My nephew is a MARINE and was hit in his humvee and got some shrapnel-metal all over his body, he got out of the hospital and immediately went back to fight with his platoon, I take great pride when I speak of my nephew and his fellow MARINES, This is why this country is so great. My nephew was a wrestler in high school, which seems to go hand in hand with the dedication it takes to become a MARINE.

I still follow High school wrestling, and wanted to share a good story about a match I went to. Before the match started the announcer said please rise for our national anthem. Everyone stood about 500 people in the small gym, as the recorded started to play, something goofed up and the national anthem did not play. As the announcer tried to fix the tape, the crowd fell silent, then some lady started to sing out loud the anthem. Everyone followed suit and sang the anthem. I am a terrible singer, but I belted out the national anthem at the top of my lungs as everyone else did. When the song was over everyone applauded and hollered and cheered, and the announcer for that small high school wrestling crowd said THAT'S the America I'm talking about!

God Bless America! God Bless the Marine Corps!

My name is Debbie. I am the proud mother of a U.S. Marine. In January 2006, my son Marcus came to me and asked me about someone that I used to work with while with the Albuquerque Police Department. Marcus remembered this man from when he was 8 years old. He remembered that this man had taught him tactics that he always seemed to remember. He remembered things that other people would think insignificant and meaningless. As silly as it sounds, he taught Marcus how to tactically enter a room. Marcus asked me if I remembered this man. I said I did. I said his name was Steve Rodriguez. I still remember Marcus' exact words: "Was he a Marine?" "Yes," I answered. Marcus then said, "That's who I want to be like." Four years have passed and I've asked several people how I could get in touch with Steve Rodriguez. I have never been able to let him know that 14 years ago, (whether he was aware of it or not) he made a positive impression on a little boy that he had only met one time. Thank you Steve! I think you're awesome! (And so are you, Marcus!) Debbie D. Gutierrez Etian Matris Manentes Serviunt

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And I Quote...

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."
--James Madison

And I Quote...

"Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."
--George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Sgt Grit, Had to send you some Wedding shot's of my son Cpl Michael Sebastian part of the 3/25 Weapons unit, Akron Ohio (part of the 3/25 out of Brook Park, OH). This was a special day as he and the Marines in the 3/25 are gearing up for what looks to be a trip to Afghanistan in August or September.

Sword Detail Mike, Terine and Grandpa

This was a toast to all veterans and those who served, Grandpa stole this one Please note this was the second toast to all veterans of all branches and all who served and my dad, Mike's grandpa who is a WWII pacific Marine veteran, Hats were off to grandpa here. The first toast was the Marines of the 3/25 and I have to say they are brothers and will be fine! If you look close in their hands you will see the Sgt Grit shot glasses we bought last week for this special toast so that all will have something from their wedding day. As always, super service and support from Sgt Grit and company! I know where to go when it has to be Marines!

Dave Sebastian
Proud Marine Corps Dad

Several months back I wrote of how tortured my grandson was after his deployment to Afghanistan, why he survived and his fellow Marines did not. He had a rough time of it and was receiving grief counseling through the Corps. Well his pain is over, on January 5th early in the morning while returning from liberty he failed to make a curve and was killed on base in a single car, lone occupant, car accident. Our son called my wife and myself and asked that we come to his house as soon as possible. I asked why, and he said he would tell us on arrived. When we walked in and saw two Marines in dress uniforms, standing in the family room I realized the my fears were right. These two Marines, a Major and a First Sergeant Whynn were from a local Reserve Unit. Both are active Marines assigned to the unit.

I must say these two men were extremely supportive throughout the whole affair. First Sgt. Whynn came to the U.S., from South Viet Nam in 1987, and has served in the Marine Corps long enough to have amassed a impressive set of solar panels on his chest, which he is modest about. At every step of the way he was on hand to assist my son and his wife with all the different steps of funeral arrangements.

It took almost a week for the body to be released from North Carolina, and be transported to Los Angeles airport. First Sgt. Whynn and the Major met us at the Airport and along with the L.A. Airport Police escorted us on the tarmac in a procession that included four cars and two motor cycles with all lights flashing. At the arrival site for the plane, we waited for the flight to land and taxied to the terminal. On arrival the whole contingent of police stood at attention and saluted along with a contingent Marine, as the Flag draped coffin was exited from the plane. The pilot stood by as did the young sergeant that had accompanied the body from Camp Lejeune. All airport personnel who were not actively engaged also stood silently by in respect.

After a brief period to allow the family a few minutes with the coffin the Marine Corps pall bearers carried the coffin to the hearse and the procession left the field. Once outside the gates the Police departed except for the Sgt. in charge who drove his cruiser to the mortuary some 40 miles away. He told me when I thanked him for his and his organizations part capitation, that it was his pleasure and honor and that we were part of his family now.

With the police Sgt in the lead followed by the hearse and four escort motor cycle traffic personnel in the lead, we in two cars following were joined by 30 Patriot Guard Riders, with flags flying, proceeded to Rose Hills Cemetery, where our grandson would lie for viewing.

I had not intended on rambling this much, what I was trying to convey is how much the Marine Corps reserve unit did for our grandson. They participated in the funeral and graveside services with full honors including Taps, a rifle salute and of course the flag folding and presentation. 110 Patriot Guard Riders were present at the church and interment. Not only they but his company Sgt. flew out from N.C. for the service. Our Son and his wife and daughter are in N.C. this weekend for a special ceremony for Jeremy, by his unit.

God Bless the Marine Corps and its reserve along the Patriot Riders and L.A. airport Police.

Thanks to all from a grateful grandfather and former U.S. Marine. In loving memory of
PFC Jeremy Thomas 1987-2010
Smilin_Bob Young

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And I Quote...

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."
--Thomas Jefferson

Sgt. Grit,
Just wanted to let you know about an event coming up in May, beginning on the 21st and going till the 23rd. It is a long overdue "Welcome Home" for Vietnam and Vietnam Era vets. It begins with a ride motorcycle ride from Lacrosse WI to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, led by a CMH winner and a Gold Star mom. The Moving Wall will be at Lambeau as will the Freedom Flame. There will be a welcome home ceremony in Lambeau on the 22nd. Just punch in "LZ Lambeau" for more info.

Semper Fi,
John Spurgeon Cpl 74-78

Couple reasons for writing.
Enjoyed this week's newsletter as I always do. take with me some memories, I forgot, but relived through others that were there also.
Especially enjoyed the dissertation "Specifically to fight" Very well written, could only wish I had that type of writing a speaking skill.
Thanks to the author for writing it and to you for including it.
Next Air wingers! I too am an AIRWINGER.
You know there are hundreds of MOS's in the Marine Corps, but no one is more important than any other.
We are trained to survive on our own, but also to work together as a TEAM. And as they say there is no "I" in Teamwork.
It takes every d*mn one of us working together to complete the assigned mission.
And that is something that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, wherever you go or do after your Marine Corps enlistment.
So in past letters, where a grunt looked down on another MOS, he just doesn't get it and maybe never will.
Maybe next time he needs a lift out of a hot LZ, we will momentarily forget how to read a map, or stop to get a Starbucks, or perhaps fly low over the nearest nude beach (hey we're guys, mostly). But no, we will get there to assist as fast as we are able, because after all we are BROTHER MARINES (and you sisters too). Who says you can't pick your family?
We're one big one, you pick on one you have to answer to us all!

Currently I am a DOD civilian working on another air base (had to move temporarily), I am having so much fun with these people. They just don't know what to think of a Marine! We are given an assignment, a mission, a job to do, and we GO DO IT!
They just don't understand IAO (improvise, adapt and overcome). I had to explain it once again to a new Colonel (it's nice being a civilian sometimes). We didn't have exactly what we needed for a project. But with IAO, we made it work, and in short time!
Well my time is up here in April, so I will likely be moving on to another DOD position and have the opportunity to once again show the FNG's how we do it and get the job done!

Choo Choo
Sgt Of Marines (nla)
RVN 70-71

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And I Quote...

"[T]here is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back."
--General Robert E. Lee (1807-1872)

When I read the article about David Bounds in Feb. 4th's edition of American Courage it made me smile. It was good to know I wasn't the only person out there who loves the Marine Corps but can't serve and so does their dead level best to teach others about it and encourage them to serve. I had a bad riding accident that dislocated a pelvic bone; took six months to put it back in place but it still doesn't stay in place. I know I could ignore it and make it through boot (heck I tried walking on it the day after it happened but kept blacking out) but then what? Odds are at some point it would give out, or the pain from compensating would make something else give out.

I love the Marine Corps too much to be a weak link. The last thing I would want is for a Marine to be hurt or killed because of my pride. So, I teach kids at church about the Marine Corps, have them do service projects to support our troops, and have Marine friends come visit on special occasions. If one day one of these kids enlists in the Marine Corps, then it will be worth it. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. So, thank you for sharing his story; it encouraged me to keep on teaching.

God bless,
Sharon Witherspoon

Sgt. Grit,

A new book has just been released entitled "Point of Aim, Point of Impact"
and is available through Barnes and Noble. It was written by my Brother-in-law, Jay Tayor. He was a Scout/Sniper in Nam in 1968-69. It is a good read, check it out.

Francis J. Jeschke
Cpl of Marines 1971-1974

Spring 2001, my son informs me he wants to join the Marines. He tells me that he's not ready for college (which I agree on), and that after he gets out he can maybe then go to college and in the meantime while he's in the Corps he can see some of the rest of the world because it's peacetime.

Jump to September 10th 2001, I watch he and several other future Marines get on a plane out of New Orleans Int. Airport and I am able to watch the plane take off while still in the Concourse (which you can't do now}. Well of course the next day is 9/11/2001 and so much for peacetime. To make a long story short he was a machine gunner in a weapons platoon and was in Baghdad from the beginning, and did another tour in Iraq also.

He got out as a Sergeant and never did see much of the rest of the world just the desert in Iraq and the desert at 29 Palms, Ca. My Dad was a 50 mission tail gunner on a B17 flying out of N. Africa bombing Italy and Sicily during WWII and was an Ace but spent less time on his combat tour than Dustin did. My grandfather was in WWI.

The bottom line is a huge thank you to all you guys and gals who have or are serving your country, for without you I / we would not belong to what we all are. The GREATEST COUNTRY on the EARTH.

Dave Myshrall - Walker, La.

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And I Quote...

"No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable."
--Federalist No. 62

Hey Sgt. Grit,
Hello from another Hollywood Marine. I joined the Corps in Jan '55, serial #1517701 and stayed until Jan '63. Served in Subic Bay and Barbers Point with security forces. Tried to be a civilian but after 10 years decided to go back in the Corps. Re- uped in April of '73 and retired in Dec. '95. Don't regret a day of my time.

My oldest son received an ROTC scholarship he used at Penn State. Served 8 yrs and got out as a Captain. My second son joined as an enlisted, made PFC out of boot and made meritorious promotion up to SSGT. Applied for the CWO program and got accepted. Retired in '03 as a CWO3. Very proud of both boys. Have 3 grandsons who hopefully will carry on the family tradition. I very much enjoy reading the stories you get from other Marines.

No such thing as an 'Old Corps" They may be trained different then we were but they are still Marines ready to do what they have to protect this country. Semper Fi and God speed to all Marines where ever they are.

M Nellis


Just wanted to let you know I just found your website. My son is now on day 3 of his journey through recruit training at Parris Island following in the footsteps of his dad. I completed recruit training in 1987 and went on to become an 0341 and later a 4066. I love the site and hope to be making a lot of purchase's here. Thanks for the stories on the story page as well they bring back memories. And yes I still remember all the names of my drill instructors and can still hear their voices 23 years later, h&ll I even remember the way Sgt Mitchel would grit his teeth when he was holding back a laugh and trying to think how best to rip us apart again.

Leon Barrington (Former Sgt, always a US Marine)

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And I Quote...

"The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become."
--Ronald Reagan

It is with sad heart that I would like to pass the word that another Marine has joined the holy guard. My father Cpl John C. Caylor, Co. 'C', 11th Amtrac Bn, 5 th Marine Div has passed away

Rodney Caylor
Cpl, USMC 72-74
I'm sad to report another of the Greatest Generation has been called home to help guard the streets of Heaven. Weldon B. 'Curly' Johnson was born on July 28, 1920. He served our beloved Corps from 1942 till after the War. All his service was in the South Pacific Theater. He was called home on Feburary 1, 2010. He was a great father, Marine, Freemason and Shriner. Curly will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Farewell and Semper Fi my brother

Dennis A. Williams, USMC 62' - 66'

Sgt. Grit and employees,

Thank you for the business you have. You're a great in inspiration to all our Vets and those now serving. Along with your products and continuous work you help us to display what we all sacrificed. Giving our best for the country we love.

Semper Fi
Paul "Yaz" Yachimski
3rd MAR. DIV.

And I Quote...

"No compact among men ... can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other."
--George Washington

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Select Your Quote- Double Flag and Eagle T-shirt
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Select Your Quote- Liberty Bell T-shirt
Select Your Quote- Liberty Bell T-shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit